Developer: Said M. Marouf
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★★☆
Usability Rating: ★★★☆☆
User Interface Rating: ★★½☆☆

Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Lets face it. People love to tweet .. and if you’re anything like me, you like to do it as often as possible. With the introduction of the App Store and the iPhone, we can finally take tweets on the move in style. There have been many attempts to create the perfect Twitter client to suit everyone’s needs, and as a result the world and his dog are developing iPhone Twitter clients. From Icon Factory’s Twitterrific to TwitterFon and Twittelator, Tweeterena, Twizzle and of course, Tweetie, to name just a few, the App Store is jam-packed with tweetelicious offerings.

The latest in the line up of these offerings is Osfoora. Before I get into the actual review though, I just have to note that Osfoora looks extremely similar, both visually and functionality wise, to Tweetie. I mean, who can blame them for trying? .. the last time I checked, Tweetie was extremely popular with the App Store crowd, some might say being the choice of clients among many. But enough of that for now, let’s get into what Osfoora offers you, the user.

First and foremost, I’m diggin’ that name. To my knowledge it doesn’t have a physical meaning, but does it need one? Just like my own internet alias ‘razorianfly’ .. I like people who step out of the box and become creative about their own product branding.

Starting out when you open Osfoora, the first thing you’ll probably notice is its main menu which is rather unique. Set out in four distinct sections across a 12 item grid, the app displays one tap access to the majority of the Osfoora’s functions .. starting with Accounts. Tapping the accounts option will (surprise, surprise) throw you to the accounts menu. Here, you can add, edit and delete each Twitter account you’ve previously setup. Once you’re done just tap ‘Home’ to return to that gridded main menu. The next section is ‘Profile’. Pretty straightforward, this section allows you to see the profile you are currently signed into, displaying information such as the account name, Twitter handle, bio, location, website and the numbers of friends, followers, faves and tweets you have. Moving further down you’ll see a similar setup to that of Tweetie, displaying options for Twitter Lists and Retweets – although you’ll notice the app lacks the tight integration with third party services such as Favstar.fm. Tapping ‘Edit’ (top right) will allow you to edit the main sections of your profile info, directly from within the app.

The third option from the app’s main menu throws you into Osfoora’s ‘Compose’ window. The app’s compose toolbar, located above the iPhone’s keyboard, allows you to perform a number of actions to enhance your tweets. These include: upload a photo from your iPhone’s camera roll, take and upload a photo then and there, search for @usernames to @reply, attach geo-location data, search and import hashtags and finally shrink URLs. Once you think your tweet is ready for the world just hit ‘Send’ (top right). Need to save it for later editing, tapping ‘Close’ will slide up a options panel, offering choices to save the tweet as a draft or discard it completely.

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Need to check what the latest Twitter Trends are up to? Tapping ‘Trends’ from the main menu will throw you into this. Now I have to say this is were Osfoora probably has a bit of a leg up on Tweetie, allowing you to see the current top 10 trends, today’s top 20 trends, and finally, the week’s top 30 trends. Searching from Osfoora is pretty straightforward too. Here, you can search Twitter as you normally would, search via nearby or search within the current trends. Below these options, you will also see the search terms you have previously saved at an earlier date – and tapping any one of these will instigate a search of that term.

Other options from the main menu include: Nearby, Favorites, Drafts, Lists, Public and Find. I haven’t quite worked out what the ‘Public’ seciton is for, yet. Presumably this section is displaying all the tweets in your timeline from people who have their Twitter.com profile unlocked and public?

“Okay, so, um dude .. Where’s my timeline?” – A question I asked myself over and over again, until I finally found it. Not a good first impression of a Twitter client when I couldn’t even find the main timeline. For anyone else wondering, to find your timeline you have to tap accounts from the main menu and then tap the account you wish to view the timeline for. All in all, it’s a little too long-winded for me. In my opinion your timeline should be obvious, immediately. In timeline view you have the usual four tabs along the bottom: Timeline, Mentions, Messages and Search. Tapping and dragging and releasing the timeline will reveal a “hide-on-demand” toolbar, consisting of options to goto your profile with a tap, refresh your timeline manually and jump right to the bottom of your timeline. Tapping any tweet within your timeline will allow you to drill down into that particular conversation. Need to see which tweet is in reply to what? Simply tap the tweet and tap the little ‘In reply’ button, located at the bottom of the screen. This will then display the full threaded conversation.

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The settings of the app provide the ability to turn auto rotation off, set the tweet load amount, set the timeline refresh rate, change themes with options of both ‘Light and ‘Dark,’ chage font size ranging from 12pt to 20pt, show either the @username or full name in the timeline and set options for image and video upload. Osfoora supports TwitPic and YFrog for image upload, Vidly and YFrog for video upload and Bit.ly, Bit.ly (Custom) and TinyURL for URL shortening. The app also allows you to save tweets for later with Instapaper (registration required).

I know what you’re probably thinking at this point; “What’s with all the Tweetie comparison. Jeez. Give Osfoora a chance. Just because it happens to be a good-looking Twitter client, doesn’t immediately make it Tweetie.”. You’re probably right. I do love Tweetie, and after all, Tweetie can’t keep all its UI candy to itself .. forever, I realize there are going to be similar apps with similar UI elements, but I can’t help but notice the sheer similarities between these two. Yes, they are both iPhone Twitter clients, and yes they both look good, but certain parts of Osfoora just scream Tweetie at me. Loudly. Maybe this is what they were banking on? Who knows.

All this said, it isn’t perfect, yet .. and if you were to ask me if this lives up to the easy of use and fluency of Tweetie, my answer would be no. For one, Osfoora still lacks a few features I’d personally like to see. For one, it’s lacking the ability to add your own URL shortener with custom API endpoints. Also, compared to Tweetie, the user cannot see replies to tweets with a simple slide of the finger in the compose view. I think Osfoora could also benefit from moving its reply, fav and re-tweet functions to the timeline. Currently, without physically drilling down to single tweet and conversation views, these functions have to be performed from the compose window.

Overall, a good attempt at a Twitter client. The basic functionality is there, which is more than I can say for some. I think Osfoora’s problem, is it is trying to be a lot of other Twitter clients at once, instead of creating its own style. While its visual style does differ from its competition, (and I have to say, I like their style), I just found that actually finding the functionality I needed to use within the app, was very difficult and at times, long-winded. With a little jiggling of UI layout, I think Osfoora could become a serious competitor to Tweetie.

Update: Developer states that Osfoora’s reply, fav translate and re-tweet functions, can actually be used from the app’s timeline view, using the below method:

Hello,

I am the developer of Osfoora, and I want to thank you for the review on 148Apps. Just thought I would point out that you can access the reply, fave, re-tweet and translate methods from a contextual menu that shows up by tapping and holding on a tweet in the main timeline.

Best Regards,
Said Marouf

Posted in: iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews, Social Networking

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